5 Family Engagement Resources

Posted by Lisa Martinek
May 29, 2014

Research has shown the importance of engaging families in youths’ rehabilitation and there are many efforts across the county aimed to better involve families. We’ve compiled a list of five research briefs and fact sheets relating to family engagement in the juvenile justice system.

1. Family Youth Initiative
This research brief from Performance-based Standards (PbS) focuses on the importance of family engagement in youths’ experience in the facility and their reintegration into society. The report introduces the Family-Youth Initiative and discusses survey results from family members and social supports as well as youth and staff perspectives about family engagement.

2. Families as Partners: Supporting Youth in Ohio
This research brief summarizes the first year of a research and technical assistance project conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice and the Ohio Department of Youth Services. The initiative was designed to help facility staff draw on the families of youths in custody as a source of support. Findings indicate the importance of family to youths in the juvenile justice system.

3. When Three’s A Crowd: How Families Can Contribute to their Child’s Defense
This fact sheet from the National Juvenile Justice Network describes best-practice relationships between juvenile defense attorneys, their clients and their clients' families.

4. The Impact of Family Visitation on Incarcerated Youth’s Behavior and School Performance
This research brief summarizes the findings of the as Families as Partners project, a collaboration between the Vera Institute of Justice and the Ohio Department of Youth Services. The project aimed to promote better outcomes for youths in custody by helping staff use youths’ families as a source of support, encouraging visits and increasing family involvement in youths’ treatment and reentry plans.

5. Innovation Brief: Strengthening the Role of Families in Juvenile Justice
This brief describes the work of Models for Change-Pennsylvania—the creation a multidisciplinary workgroup’s efforts to address the role of families in the juvenile justice process. Through this workgroup, family involvement in juvenile justice has become a central principle of Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system reform.